Of the various ways in which Bud Selig has managed to screw up baseball in general, and the All-Star festivities in particular. my pet peeve is with what was, once upon a time, the old-timers game. It used to be that on the day before the All-Star Game, a group of retired players, many of them Hall-of-Famers, would get together and play a baseball game for fun. We could get one more chance to see the great players of our youth.
Well, old Bud decided that such an idea was too old-school. Who would want to see Carl Yastrzemski get another at bat against Bob Gibson? So instead he co-opted an idea from, of all places, MTV, which had been running an event called the Rock 'n' Jock Softball game. Instead of playing a game with old timers, why not have a softball game with a few retired athletes and mainly a bunch of B-list celebrities? In order to make it crystal clear that nobody cared at all for the game, have both teams coached by ESPN celebrities. Find a sponsor, to further trivialize it, and now you have the Taco Bell All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game. Way fewer legends than celebrities.
Then once the game got established, more marginal celebrities and wannabes wanted to get in, in order to establish some name recognition, even if they had no idea how to play the game. The saddest of these was a few years back when some teenage pop singer, whose name I didn't recognize at all, went up to the plate, clearly having no idea what she was doing there. The catcher for the other team, Meat Loaf (yes, Meat Loaf), tried to give her a few instructions on the basics of how to hold the bat, but she struck out weakly. Even for a celebrity softball game, it's atrocious.
Be grateful that the Home Run Derby will, as usual, run an hour past its time slot so that this travesty will be seen by very few.